About Us

Stem Cells Australia brings together Australia’s premier life scientists to harness the potential of stem cells for diagnostic, therapeutic and biotechnological purposes through an Australian Research Council’s Special Research Initiative scheme.

Led by Professor Melissa Littlethis initiative links Australia’s leading experts in bioengineering, nanotechnology, stem cell biology, advanced molecular analysis and clinical research. 

Stem Cells Australia aims to apply our understanding of stem cell regulation and differentiation, and harness this knowledge into innovative diagnostic, biotechnological and therapeutic applications. Our collaboration also seeks to lead public debate and discussion about the important ethical, legal and societal issues associated with stem cell science and regenerative medicine.

The translational program is anchored by three pillars of research: Regenerative Medicine, Disease Modelling and Designer Cells. Each program builds on key outcomes generated during the initial seven years of Stem Cells Australia and taps the complementary skills of our research partners to enable us to deliver results.

Our network of over 300 researchers across Australia has been fundamental in scientific breakthroughs in a range of key areas: from improving blood stem cell collection, to fast-tracking pathways to repairing the heart; from converting one cell type to another, to growing a kidney in laboratory dish. Read about how Stem Cells Australia is at the frontier of tomorrow’s medicine.

The Stem Cells Australia initiative has developed a sophisticated national network of researchers and underpinning infrastructure. The network has been critical in training the next generation of Australian researchers. Read more about our past achievements in our annual reports.

Stem Cells Australia was established in 2011 through support from an Australian Research Council (ARC) Special Research Initiative in Stem Cell Science which has provided $24 million over eight years. The founding consortium members were The University of Melbourne, Monash University, the University of Queensland, the University of NSW, CSIRO, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, with Murdoch Children’s Research Institute joining in 2016. The University of Sydney, Western Sydney University, University of Wollongong, University of Tasmania and University of Western Australia joined the initiative in mid-2018, when the initiative received support for a one-year extension. The University of Newcastle, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Hunter Medical Research Institute and Hudson Institute of Medical Research became affiliate members in late 2018. The University of Melbourne remains the Administering Organisation for the ARC initiative.

In July 2018, Stem Cells Australia received a further $3 million from the Australian Government's MRFF Accelerated Research program to support national teams of experts to take stem cell research from the laboratory into the clinic. The University of Melbourne is also the Administering Organisation for the MRFF funds.